20 September 2019 — EN+ GROUP IPJSC (the “Company”, “the Group” or “En+ Group”), (LSE: ENPL; MOEX: ENPL), a leading international vertically-integrated aluminium and power producer, has partnered with one of the world’s leading geophysical specialists, Aerostate, to develop a data-driven forecast for fluctuations of water inflow into Lake Baikal.
En+ Group operates hydropower plants on the Angara River flowing out of Baikal, providing a supply of renewable power for the local population and regulating the cascade of the river. This project, called ENvision, is part of En+ Group’s Lake Baikal Preservation Programme, the company’s wider strategy to protect and preserve the world’s oldest, largest and deepest freshwater lake. The long-term model for predicting inflow water will ensure better management of Lake Baikal’s water resources, both for local people, who rely on the lake for their livelihoods, and for the natural environment, which is sensitive to sudden fluctuations.
Currently, water inflow forecasts are based on fundamental and hydrological models. These models provide accurate results over a weekly timeframe but are less reliable over longer periods as forecasts are developed using ‘most likely’ scenarios based on historical data. Through the ENvision project, En+ Group and Aerostate will study for 17 months the factors affecting Baikal water inflow and, through machine learning, will train an algorithm to more accurately predict inflows over a 6-18 month timeframe. The model will take into account natural influences such as snow thawing and the speed of river flows but also consider the impact of factors such as pollution from industrial regions of China.
En+ Group will share its results with the authorities responsible for setting flow rates through the region’s hydropower plants, including En+ Group’s three facilities on the Angara River. A more accurate forecast will help them optimise the hydrological use of water resources to minimise the effect on the ecosystem and, critically, will provide local authorities with an effective tool to ensure downstream communities have sufficient water levels for potable water supplies, navigation and trade. A more accurate understanding of how inflows are developing will also help mitigate flooding risks and could prove valuable in preventing a repeat of the severe floods experienced in Irkutsk this year.
Vladimir Kiriukhin, CEO, En+ Group, commented:
“The preservation of the lake is a key element of our strategy, both from an operational and sustainability point of view. The forecasting model is key part of the Lake Baikal Preservation Programme, En+ Group’s plan for ensuring the responsible use of the water resources of Lake Baikal. We have been delivering initiatives as part of this programme since 2011 and we have ambitious plans to expand it further. In the coming months we will initiate a partnership with a leading academic institute to perform the first ever study of the impact of water fluctuations on the ecosystem of the lake"
Earlier this year, En+ Group launched a scientific expedition studying human impacts on the lake’s ecosystem, including the most detailed investigation to date into the quantitative concentration of microplastics in the lake, which is a key indicator of the anthropogenic effect on the Baikal.
Evgeny Ganshin, Business Development Officer, Aerostate commented:
“The ENvision project is an opportunity for our team to apply our expertise in a very focused task, which could lead to significant improvements in the quality of life of local people and the conservation of natural resources.”
Based on the findings of both the scientific expedition and the ENvision forecasting project, the Group also aims to rally businesses, government agencies and NGOs around a set of meaningful and measurable policies for sustainably managing the ecosystem of the lake